Stratospheric Polar Vortex & Weather with Amy Butler

In this webinar, Dr. Amy Butler talked about the Polar Vortex. She focused on why she became an atmospheric scientist, presented a brief overview of the stratosphere and the ozone layer, and discussed how we might use information about the stratospheric polar vortex to make extended-range weather forecasts.

This webinar is part of the CIRES/NOAA Science-At-Home series.

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About the Presenter

Dr. Amy Butler is a CIRES research scientist in the Chemical Sciences Laboratory at NOAA. Her interest in atmospheric sciences started out as a strong fear of tornadoes, but evolved in a passion for weather and climate. Now her research focuses on understanding a layer of the atmosphere miles above the surface called the stratosphere. This is the home of the ozone layer, which protects the earth from dangerous ultra-violet radiation. Dr. Butler investigates how the winds in the polar stratosphere-- the polar vortex-- might improve weather prediction weeks in advance, and how the polar vortex might change in the future.

Recommended Activities for e-Learning

Pre-K: How Strong Is Wind/Air? Gather several items from around your house. A cotton ball, a toy car, a leaf, a pebble, a crayon, and any other small item you want to know if wind can move. Now using a straw (or toilet paper tube) blow on the objects. Do they move? How strong do you think air must be to be able to damage a building, like a tornado or hurricane does?

K-5: Fly a Kite - Don't have a kite handy? That's okay because NPR's Science Friday has instructions on how to make a kite from materials you have at home, and if you want to kick it up a notch, instructions on how to add a tail to your kite.

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6-8: Build an Air Vortex Cannon - Using supplies you might have around the house, like a paper/plastic cup, toilet paper tube, or cardboard box, and instructions from NPR's Science Friday, try to make the best Air Vortex Cannon you can!

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